| 2.9°C Dublin

Boost for Barretstown as grandmother leaves €7m

A GRANDMOTHER left €7m to Barretstown camp for sick children -- a charity which provides recreation programmes for children who have been through serious illnesses.

Elizabeth Burke, of Ailesbury Road, Dublin, died on October 20, 2011 and left an estate valued at €12.3m.

Ms Burke, who was the former owner of Stackallen Stud, Co Meath, was well known in social and racing circles.



Donated

Before she died, she left €7m to the Barretstown Camp in Kildare, which was established by late Hollywood star Paul Newman in 1994. It is believed that Ms Burke was a great admirer of the famous actor.

It is understood that she also donated over €500,000 to the Irish Georgian Society and a further €500,000 to two animal charities.

Last year, Barretstown opened its new €1.5m indoor activity centre, the cost of which was funded through philanthropic donors.

More than 2,000 children and their families are accommodated across the camp's calendar, which runs from April to November, and is based in Barretstown Castle.

Commenting about the gift last year, the chairman of Barretstown Camp, Maurice Pratt, described it as "a magnificent act of generosity", saying Barretstown could not express their gratitude strongly enough.

"The board will ensure that this money is invested wisely. Currently, the annual running costs of Barretstown are almost €5m and the interest income from the bequest will be of great help in this regard."

Ms Burke is survived by her son Nigel, daughter Orla, grandchildren and extended family.



Split

She also requested that €500,000 from her estate go to the Limerick branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

However, no such organisation exists and the Department of Justice confirmed that the matter was referred to the Commissioners for Charitable Donations and Bequests.

The commissioners, three High Court judges and a Supreme Court judge, decided that the monies should be split equally between two animal charities in Limerick -- Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) and the Limerick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LSPCA).

On Ms Burke's death notice in 2011, her family requested that any donations be made to the ISPCA.

hnews@herald.ie